Spiders. They’re scary when we spot one climbing up the living room drapes, but they’re even more terrifying when they start to take up precious real estate on our lower limbs. Thankfully, there’s an effective aesthetic fix for the unsightly “spider veins” that can mar our legs and undermine our confidence. Expertly-performed sclerotherapy, a treatment that’s been around for decades, but has recently undergone a substantial facelift, is among the best options for patients itching to rock swimwear, shorts, and skirts.
What is sclerotherapy?
In a nutshell, sclerotherapy is an in-office treatment in which a liquid chemical solution, or “sclerosant,” is injected into a vein via a fine-gauge needle. It irritates the lining to such a degree that the vein collapses and dissolves. According to newly released statistics from the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, there were 323,234 sclerotherapy procedures performed in 2018.
Who benefits from sclerotherapy?
If you’re a sclerotherapy first timer, you might be thinking, Wait, don’t I need my veins? The short answer: not all veins are created equal. “It’s important to know that the veins we’re treating are useless,” says Beverly Hills-based dermatologist Harold Lancer, who treats four to five sclerotherapy-seekers every day. “They don’t serve a purpose. Patients always ask, ‘Do I need these?’ And the answer is no.”
Occurring more frequently in women than men, spider veins are also genetic. “Heredity certainly plays a critical role in your chances of developing spider veins, but there are many other factors to consider as well,” notes Sobel. “Hormonal changes, pregnancy and menopause have been proven to lead to spider veins.”
Aging is another key factor in the development of spider veins, by age 50 close to 50% of women have spider or varicose veins. By age 80 about 80%!
In terms of lifestyle causes of those itsy bitsy spiders, any profession requiring you to stand on your feet for long stretches (think: retail, food service, etc.) is not optimal. Excessive sitting is also bad news. Essentially, both standing and sitting can disrupt blood flow and trigger blood pooling, and that ramps up pressure on our veins to push the blood to the heart. Eventually, all that pooling and pressure weakens the valves, triggering spiders and varicose veins. While there is no way to completely prevent varicose veins, plenty of exercise, staying at a healthy weight, and elevating your legs whenever possible (especially while sleeping) can help.
So why is sclerotherapy experiencing a resurgence?
One key reason sclerotherapy is regaining popularity: The word is getting out that now, depending on the sclerosant a practitioner uses, it can be less painful than it used to be. Other leaps forward in sclerotherapy are the use of ultrasound and Doppler to see deeper into the skin
and identify “problem” veins during the initial consultation, and magnification and polarized light during the actual treatment.
What happens during a sclerotherapy procedure?
Sclerotherapy requires no anesthesia or numbing, so once you’re cleared for treatment, your practitioner will dive right in, administering multiple injections of the vein-collapsing solution in a single visit.
What about sclerotherapy aftercare?
Immediately afterward, your leg(s) will be bandaged for the trip back home and, depending on your case — and practitioner — you may be asked to wear compression tights. These garments can help keep those treated veins collapsed and aid in speedier healing. You can expect post-treatment redness and injection-site bruising. In rare cases, there can also be pigmentation that lasts longer, fading over the course of months. Many sclerotherapy patients have multiple treatments. While it may be for a “re-treat” of the same vein, the sheer number of spiders (in people who have a propensity for them) may dictate a series of treatments. BY DANA WOOD●MAY 23, 2019 SPOTLYTE by Allergan, to read the entire article click here.